THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 25

Panama Covid-19 update – Merry Christmas everyone!

Despite being Christmas, with a total lockdown now until 28 December, 2,986 new cases and 41 more fatalities added to the ongoing totals. There are now said to be 41,155 active cases, with 188 in ICU and 1,813 in other wards.

25 DECEMBER 2020

BRAZEN FRAUDSTERS OFFER CRIME SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE

On 23 December, the BBC reported that criminal organisations are offering subscription services to other fraudsters to teach them a scam in which they impersonate their victims.  Fraud prevention organisation Cifas said fraudsters were sharing tips and getting more sophisticated in their attempts to steal money.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55424091

UK: REPORTING SCAMS PRETENDING TO BE FROM COMPANIES HOUSE

On 23 December, Companies House produced guidance on what to do if you think you’ve spotted a scam pretending to be from Companies House, with examples of scam emails, letters and telephone calls.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reporting-scams-pretending-to-be-from-companies-house

THE GLOBAL DIGITAL TAX MAN IS COMING

On 2 December, Global Trade Magazine carried an article saying that discussions have heated up internationally, primarily in OECD, on how global tax systems can keep up with the digitisation of the global economy, including where taxes should be paid and what portion of profits should be taxed, given that companies can achieve global sales without opening a storefront, can earn a profit on data moving across borders, and sell products that are not physical (like a video game or an app).  The OECD Work Plan has 2 “pillars” – the first pillar explores what portion of transactions and profits can or should be taxed in the jurisdiction where the consumer resides, rather than where the producer of the product or service is located. The second pillar is concerned with developing tools that allow countries to require multinationals to pay a minimum level of tax to minimise their ability to shift profits to low and no-tax jurisdictions. Where to next?

https://www.globaltrademag.com/the-global-digital-tax-man-is-coming/

IRAN SAYS IT WON APPROVAL FROM US TO TRANSFER MONEY TO BUY COVID VACCINES

On 25 December, Rferl reported that Iran has won approval from the US to use foreign currency reserves it holds abroad to buy coronavirus vaccines despite US sanctions on Iranian banks, the central bank chief has said.  He said OFAC had approved the transfer to a Swiss bank.

https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-covid-19-buy-vaccine-transfer-money-us-approval/31018544.html

RUSSIA JAILS EX-OFFICIAL 15 YEARS IN HIGH-PROFILE CORRUPTION CASE

On 25 December, the Moscow Times reported that a former Moscow region official has been sentenced to 15 years in a maximum-security prison.  Alexander Shestun, the former head of the Serpukhov district of the Moscow region, was found guilty of taking bribes, fraud, money laundering and illegal participation in entrepreneurial activity.

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/12/25/russia-jails-ex-official-15-years-in-high-profile-corruption-case-a72486

CMS EXPERT GUIDE TO ONLINE GAMBLING LAW AND REGULATION IN EUROPE

On 23 December, CMS Law published this guide, in checklist form for each state.

https://cms.law/en/int/expert-guides/cms-expert-guide-to-online-gambling-regulation-in-europe/spain

NEW/UPDATED UK NOTICES TO IMPORTERS

New Notices to Importers with effect from 31 December –

  1. 2936 – import, export, and placement on the market in the UK of cat and dog fur, and products containing such fur continues to be prohibited after the end of the Brexit transition period;
  2. 2937 – reimportation of certain tiered-priced products remains illegal.  These products are from pharmaceutical companies which produce and sell certain medicines to developing countries at a low cost to help fight key diseases such as HIV and malaria;
  3. 2938 – the import of goods that could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments are banned from being imported into the UK. The list of banned imports is set out in the attached table, and thThis import ban remains in force when the UK leaves the EU;
  4. 2940 – guidance on the process for acquiring Certificates of Free Sale (CFS), which are part of the product registration process that is required before you can place goods on the market in many countries;
  5. 2941 – import of landmines remains banned after transition period; and
  6. 2942 – sets out the licensing arrangements for imports of firearms and ammunition into the UK.  It replaces all previous Notices to Importers about such imports.  It has been updated to reflect the firearms import licensing regime when the UK leaves the EU whilst detailing the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol for imports into Northern Ireland.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-controls#notices-to-importers

NEW INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY FORUM (INSF) TO UNITE GROUPS & EXPERTS TO REDUCE NUCLEAR TERRORISM RISK

On 15 December, an article from the Stimson Center said that it had announced the launch of the International Nuclear Security Forum (INSF), a new project that unites a diverse group of international experts to identify, create, and support strategies for reducing nuclear terrorism risks.  Members represent a prominent and diverse cross-section of the nuclear security community.

https://www.stimson.org/2020/new-international-nuclear-security-forum-insf-to-unite-groups-experts-to-reduce-nuclear-terrorism-risk/

RANSOMWARE: PREVENTION & RESPONSE

On 23 December, a briefing from Clifford Chance said that ransomware attacks have drastically increased and become more sophisticated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This publication aims to help companies understand and address the risk of a ransomware attack. It provides guidance on how to prevent and prepare for ransomware attacks, what to do if and when a company is the victim of such an attack, important legal considerations from different key jurisdictions.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/briefings/2020/12/Ransomware%20Playbook%20-%20Prevention%20and%20Response.pdf

‘CLOCK STILL TICKING’ ON GIBRALTAR AGREEMENT AS UK/EU SEAL POST-BREXIT DEAL

On 24 December, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that the Chief Minister has welcomed news of a post-Brexit UK/EU deal but said “the clock is still ticking” on negotiations for an agreement for Gibraltar’s future relations with the bloc.  The deal between the UK and the EU does not cover Gibraltar.

https://www.chronicle.gi/clock-still-ticking-on-gib-agreement-as-uk-eu-seal-post-brexit-deal/

US CUSTOMS SEIZES FRAUDULENT COVID-19 VACCINE WEBSITES

On 23 December, Homeland Preparedness News reported that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seized fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine websites.  The domain names, mordernatx.com and regeneronmedicals.com, purported to be the websites of actual biotechnology companies developing treatments for the COVID-19 virus, were, in fact, spoofed websites used to collect personal information of individuals visiting the sites for fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/59458-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-seizes-fraudulent-covid-19-vaccine-websites/

NETHERLANDS: UNDERGROUND BANKER JAILED AND FINES AFTER €1 MILLION FOUND

On 11 December, a Ministry news release advised that the National Public Prosecutor’s Office has requested a jail sentence of 42 months and a fine of €27,215 for a man who is suspected by the Public Prosecutor of money laundering.  The investigation was launched in April following information from another ongoing investigation and the discovery of €1 million. 

https://www.om.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/12/11/strafeis-3-jaar-en-5-maanden-plus-geldboete-tegen-ondergronds-bankier-na-vondst-1-miljoen

US: NEW BSA/AML REGIME PROMISES SWEEPING CHANGES

On 22 December, an article from King & Spalding made this claim in respect of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included the Corporate Transparency Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.  If or when it reaches the statute book, it would bring about the most significant changes to US AML requirements since the USA Patriot Act of 2001.  The CTA and AMLA would broaden the mission or purpose of the Bank Secrecy Act.  The article explains in some detail what the changes would involve.

https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/new-bsaaml-regime-promises-sweeping-changes

I had omitted the following link (as it did not seem to generate much interest!), but it seemed time to add it again and say that, if you would like to make a (polite) gesture and help me with my removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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